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Jewish World Review
June 15, 2007
/ 29 Sivan 5767
Show some respect on Father's Day
Want to do something really nice for dear ol' dad this Father's Day? Show him some respect. Show him how important he is in your life. And try doing something that will actually make him proud of you. "Honor thy father and thy mother," the Ten Commandments say. In the 21st Century while mother is certainly honored and respected, poor dad has been demoted to just some guy who hangs around that you sort of tolerate. The father is not as dominant nor important a figure as he once was in the traditional family structure. In our modern age, fathers may very well have become the forgotten members of our society. But remember, fathers need to be needed too now more than ever.
Sad to say, our culture just doesn't honor fathers as they once did. The focus now is on other groups. As our society celebrates multiculturalism, women's liberties, gay rights and other such segments, father has been shoved aside. More than ignored, in many instances father has been made to feel unimportant and even clownish. If we use the family station wagon as a metaphor of society, father has most definitely been relegated to the back seat and strapped into a child's booster seat on top of it.
Just think how long fathers have been portrayed as being complete jerks in movies, on television, and in commercials. Fathers are the one segment of society where it's just fine to insult, malign, and degrade them with complete impunity. He's the slob or idiot in TV sit coms. He's either the bumbling oaf or the heartless money grubbing businessman in the movies. Rarely is father portrayed with any depth of character or intelligence or warmth. And certainly no brains.
Since every group with any strength today is represented by a vocal and "in-your-face" civil rights organization, maybe it's high time for fathers to establish one for themselves. There are no national lobbying groups to defend fathers against injustice. There should be a group like the National Organization for Woman (NOW) for fathers. Call it NOD the National Organization for Dads. Or FATHER Fathers Association To Have Equal Rights.
Fathers used to have a dominate role in the family unit that was uniquely theirs they were the breadwinners, the main source of income for the entire family. They represented the strength of the family, they were the providers. Not so anymore. According to recent surveys, men are falling behind women as wage earners. The Los Angeles Times reported that American men in their 30s earn less than their fathers' generation did at the same age. And even though the total family incomes of men in their 30's continue to rise, it is due mostly because more of their wives are working, a study has shown.
In 2004, the median income for a man in his 30s was $35,010, 12% less than that of men in their 30s in 1974, adjusted for inflation, according to the study, which was based on Census Bureau data. By contrast, thirtysomething men in 1994 earned 5% more than their older counterparts. The researchers focused on the 30's age group because income in one's 30s is a good predictor of lifetime income, according to the report.
Men are not doing so well in college these days, either. Among all those under 50 years of age, 32% of women hold a four-year college degree, compared with only 23% of men. That's a dramatic change from the past, when younger men were better educated than younger women. Feminist groups did more than just secure "equal rights" for women, they have succeeded in pushing men out of the way. As society becomes more and more "feminized" the role of man and father becomes less and less.
Who knows, but with the advancement of new techniques in cloning and in vitro developments, in the future our society may very well get to a point where it is finally able to eliminate men altogether. But we aint' there yet, and as far as I know, fathers are still an intricate part of the procreation cycle. And beyond being simply sperm donors, the role of fathers in the lives of children has never been more important or necessary than it is right now. One mommie or two mommies or forty-seven mommies is no substitute for one daddy.
So on this Father's Day why not demonstrate just how much you appreciate your father by giving him more than just another present. Sure, it's fine to get him a DVD of his favorite movie or take him out to a ballgame or a steak dinner, but please go further than that too. Give him the gift of respect and honor. And make that gift last all year 'round.
My wife's father used to say when he was asked what he would like for Father's Day, "Just a kind word." Give dad a kind word and show him that there's absoluetly no one in the world who could possibly take his place. Respect. Honor. Love. A kind word. That's what dad needs this year. Oh, and maybe that 50" plasma HD TV.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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© 2006, Greg Crosby